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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Mocavo Scanning Project

Mocavo, the new kid on the block in the world of genealogy, has a new endeavor.

Free scanning service :

Mocavo Announces Free Scanning Service! Get your records in to us to help us with our goal to make family history accessible to everyone!

from their advertisement, "From now until the end of the year we will scan your documents, send you a digital copy, and put them online at Mocavo — for FREE! We will even send your materials back to you, if you choose.  We work with our community to bring all of the world’s genealogical information online for free putting everyone’s family history within reach.  We are bringing lots and lots of historical information and databases to Mocavo; but, don’t let us have all the fun.  Join in!"

Thursday, November 8, 2012

School Yearbooks - Searching On-Line

 School Days, School Days....

Did you ever think that you would be able to look at old school yearbooks....on-line????

Rah, Rah, Rah,

Guess you can!  I usually browse school yearbooks at Memory Lane through Classmates


Explore the world's largest
online yearbook collection.

Search for friends, family, and favorite celebrities!

 You might be able to browse free for a short time, but of course they always want you to pay a fee, and make you feel like you are getting access to just about everything.  I must say that the subscription fees for this website are not as high as others, but still you must make that commitment.

well, well, well,  Move over Memory Lane... now, one of the newest kids on the block for family and genealogy researching has stepped up to the plate... take a look...

Mocavo has arrived with access to school yearbooks, for FREE.  yes, indeed, and they are added more everyday. take a look 
Yearbooks Are Here : Search Our Collection for Free
Mocavo has put nearly 3.5 million pages of yearbooks from high schools and universities online for free. We want to build the biggest collection online!
On this website you can search by Name, date, location, school, whatever and also eliminate terms and words.  I was really surprised at the amount of school yearbooks that they have.  You can also find rosters of persons in military units in this section.  No kidding.  I found a few of them just by searching for family surnames.  Very cool.
Try both Mocavo and Memory Lane at  If you are looking for a photo of a relative, this just might be the place to come.  Good Luck!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Family Black Sheep Records

Once in a while you may came across some person in your research that suddenly disappears from the census, directories and other resources.  What happened to them?  Well, if they were easily confused by the local laws, or maybe were lured into some activities that brought them to the dark side of life.  You know who I am talking about, don't you?  Yes, it's those black sheep in the family.  Usually just a misunderstanding, or a consequence of hanging around with the wrong folks,  that ends up with someone staying a while in the local jail or state prison.  So how do you find out if there are really there?

First you might want to do a quick search of the local newspapers to see if they are mentioned on the police blotter pages, or similar articles.  Otherwise, you might want to visit certain databases to see if they are included in a roster of jail residents.Court records may include naturalization papers, probate records, guardian cases and coroner inquest reports.  Let's look at a listing for the state of Illinois, put together by the Illinois State Genealogical Society :

History of the Illinois Court System ,  found just from a Google search, can direct you to lots of background on the judicial system in the State.  There is a terrific timeline, calendars and schedules of courts, court forms, lists of court interpreters, court reporter transcripts, court facilities information, lists of judges, attorneys and mediators, court rules and additional websites.

Black Sheep Ancestors  This is a great website to search court records, prison records, execution records, asylum records and biographies of famous criminals from the United States, United Kingdom and Canada.

Illinois County Courthouse Directory  Address and location list of all county clerk and recorder offices.

National Archives - Great Lakes
A wide variety of information on court records and state attorney records

IRAD Databases - Court Databases  criminal court records, court proceedings, jail registers.

Don't forget to check the US Federal Census indexes for the state prisons.  I found a cousin in the 1930 Census of the State Prison of Missouri in Jefferson City.  You never know who you might find.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Election Day....Use Voter Registration Records for Your Research

It's Election Day here in the United States of America.  Why not use some of the accumulated records available to the public.  Where do you find this information?, of course.

a blurb from Ancestry : Why Use Voting Records:
Voter registers are great records to use as “census substitutes”, since they will usually contain the names of heads of households and other adults. They are useful when census records are either not complete or non-existent, and are usually available in between census years. Because voter registers were published on a fairly consistent basis and are generally state-wide, they are useful for tracking individuals over time and place.

Check Ancestry ( ) for the Search tab.  Scroll down to Card Catalog and you can find voter registrations for various areas.  Let's looks at a few.

California, Voter Registrations, 1900-1968:  I looked in the Napa County, Aetna District :

Notice that you can get the name, age and address of each registered voter.  Good information.

Also on, I found voter information for the county of Richmond, Georgia :

This states the date of each registrant, name, reference to oath, race and residence time period.

Georgia, Returns of Qualified Voters and Reconstruction Oath Books, 1867-1869

For more recent voter information, lists can be purchased from most states.
The Georgia Office of the Secretary of State has voter registration lists available :

Voter Registration Lists and Files

Voter registration lists and files are available to the public. The files contain the following information: voter name, residence address, mailing address if different, race, gender, registration date and last voting date. Pricing is set by the Secretary of State. Such data may not be used by any person for commercial purposes. (O.C.G.A. §21-2-225c)

Many more older and up-to-date voter lists are available.  Just search the Internet for them.  You will find a treasure of information.

Voter registration lists can provide some very interesting information for your ancestors.  It can make you feel proud when you see that your family members took their citizen rights and privileges very seriously, and took advantage of their ability to vote.

Regardless of your political views, I hope that you, too, take advantage of your rights in this country.  Vote and get involved in your communities.  Make life as beautiful as possible for yourself and your neighbors.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Books And Periodicals as Resources

Websites can be such fun to navigate when searching for data for your family tree.  But, don't forget that there are still  so many resources that are not on the Internet.  Books and periodicals can provide such great clues when trying to break through those pesky brick walls.

There are many older history volumes that have been digitized and are accessible online.  Many more have not been, and can still be accessed through inter library loans.  Here are some great websites to browse that may just have what you are looking for regarding Illinois and the world :

   Books We Own
       You can contact book owners and ask them to look in their volumes for family names, dates, etc.
   BYU Family History Archive
       Harold B. Lee Library at BYU Digital Collections
   Genealogy Book Links
       Biographies and Family Genealogies
   Google Books
      Search for any book, with the ability to locate it, read it online, download, or order.
   Illinois Periodicals Online
      A digital imaging project at Northern Illinois University
   Internet Archive
      A digital archive containing video, audio, music and texts

Have some fun exploring with these and many more.  You never know what you might find.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Become an Indexing Volunteer for FamilySearch

Do you wish that there would be more free data out there to help you and every other family history buff?  Well, there is some available, but you can help to make even more available for yourself and everyone else.

FamilySearch, one of the leading organizations that provides free vital records and genealogical data online, has begun to digitize the information transcribed from the many microfilms that they have in Salt Lake City at the Family History Library.  They have the films posted on their website initially, without being indexed.  They are available for browsing.  But now volunteers are able to help in the efforts to transcribe the information from the images, and make this information searchable through the FamilySearch index.

If you would like to help in this endeavor, just sign up through  They would be happy to assist you with enrolling as a volunteer.

I currently assist in the indexing project with the Italian records that have been microfilmed.  It is a very rewarding experience, and I am so happy to be a part of this great project.  It can't be done over night, but if many more volunteers chip in, just think of the many records that can be made available for you and everyone else around the world.

Here is a part of a press release from FamilySearch earlier this year:

Join this exciting community effort to make records searchable online and ensure our ancestors are remembered by
Current and Completed Projects
To view a list of currently available indexing projects, along with their record language and completion percentage, visit the FamilySearch indexing updates page. To learn more about individual projects, view the FamilySearch projects page.
New Projects Added
  • Argentina, Mendoza, Ciudad de Mendoza—Registros Parroquiales, 1665–1922
  • Brasil, Rio de Janeiro—Cartões de Imigração, 1900–1965 [Parte 3C]
  • Brasil, Rio de Janeiro—Cartões de Imigração, 1900–1965 [Parte 3D]
  • Colombia, Antioquia, Sonsón y Rionegro—Registros Parroquiales, 1814–2008
  • México, Coahuila, Matamoros y Torreón Registros Iglesia Católica
  • México, Durango, Gómez Palacio, Cuidad Lerdo, Mapimí, Cuencamé—Registros Parroquiales, 1708–1963
  • Micronesia, Pohnpei—Civil Registration, 1948–2009
  • Peru, Chiclayo y Lambayeque—Registros Civiles, 1873–1950 [Parte A]
  • Ukraine, L'viv—Roman Catholic Diocese Church Book Duplicates, 1600–1948 [Part 1]
  • U.S., Puerto Rico—Censo Federal de 1940
  • U.S., Indiana, Saint Joseph County—Marriages 1811–1959
  • Украина, Киев—Метрические книги русской православной церкви, 1846–1848 [Часть C]
View the FamilySearch projects page to see the full list of available projects and to learn more about how to participate in various projects.
Won't you please consider joining me?  Please be a volunteer to help make more records searchable.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Family Photos and What To Do With Them

So you have been handed a box of old family photos, or perhaps a car load of family photo albums filled with memories of years past.  What do you do with them?

First of all, count yourself very lucky.  So many have stories of boxes of photos having been thrown in the dumpster simply because they did not have any meaning to those who found them.

Don't handle them with your greasy fingers.  Some feel it is a myth that oils from your fingers can damage photos.  I, however, feel it is important to be careful.  Wear a pair of cotton gloves that will protect your photos while you sift through them.

Invest in a few good quality archival pens.  These acid free pens can be found at most craft and scrapbook stores.   They allow you to write on the back of each photo without the worry of damage from using the generic pencil or ink pen.  If you know what the photo depicts, such as date, location and perhaps persons, be sure to record that on the back of the photo using the archival pens.  If you have no information, or only partial information of the subjects in the photos, record what you can.  Place these in archival envelopes, divided into groups by subjects, persons, etc.  Make a mental note of who in your family may be able to help identify what is in the photos.  When your finished with this part of organization, make a phone call to contact those persons who may be able to help you.  Meeting in person is the best way to have a great conversation about family and the photos in question.  Be sure to take along a notebook.  There may be some great stories that are attached to those photos, and you don't want to miss an opportunity to record what you learn from these conversations.

The photos themselves need to be preserved.  Purchase good quality clear, archival sleeves to protect the photos from harmful elements in the environment.  Photo shops, craft stores and even big box and discount stores carry these types of photo storage pages.  They are cheaper if you buy them in larger packages, and you can always use extras.

Invest in a good scanner/copier/printer, or take the photos to a place that allows you to scan on their equipment.  You can save the images on a flash drive, compact disc, external hardrive and your computer's memory, too.  Having this extra copy is most important.  If something should happen to the original photo, you will always have the scanned copy that you have made.  Personally, I keep at least two scanned copies of each photo.  When I save the digital copy, I always give each photo file a name that can be descriptive of what is on the photo and when it was taken.

If you have damaged photos, faded photos, or just plain old photos that show their age, you might want to invest in a photo image program that allows you to make corrections to the photo.  These programs are great tools to have.  You can make an old photo look like new by enhancing the image, making corrections to highlights, shadows and brightness and correcting hues of coloration.  Photoshop is the "go-to" programs for most hobbyists.  However, you can always get by with other programs that are less expensive, such as Corel and Kodak.  Do a little shopping in this area.  Try some that may have free trial periods until you find one that fits your needs and comfort level.

Lastly, don't forget to share those photo images with family.  What a great gift to give at Christmas, anniversary or birthday.  Write a story to go along with the photo collection gift.  It will give it more meaning.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Keeping Organized

This is a post that I should read, and reread from time to time.

Keeping yourself organized and focused....yeah right.  So everyday I make a list of things that I need to do, and those things that I'd like to do.  Do I complete everything on that list?  I wish.
Is it impossible to complete everything on that list? No.  So why don't I get everything done when I would like to?  Easy.  I lose my focus, which makes me disorganized, and I fail at meeting my goal.

What should I do to keep myself as productive as I can?  Stop screwing around and get back to business.  Organize my priorities, focus on the top items of importance on a daily basis, and carry out my plan without getting distracted and lured off course.  Is this possible?  I hope so.

I had signed up to participate in a program where I had agreed to post on this blog every day during the month of November.  Well, here it is the 2nd day of November, and this is the first post of the month.  Oops.  Gosh, not even 24 hours had gone by and I was not able to abide by the agreement that I had made with myself and that blogging program.  Am I a failure?  Well, I could say "yes", but then that would be very negative on my part.  I'll let this one day slip by, then I will regroup and give myself the encouragement to jump back in the saddle and post everyday in November of 2012, just like I had agreed to.

So, now that I have made a public confession, I can carry on knowing that I need to become more organized.  Getting back in the game, getting back to business, knowing that I do have some faults I  can overcome will become my goal.  Can I do it? You bet I can.

My goal will be to write everyday on this blog on relevant issues regarding my experiences with genealogy and historical research.  There are so many things that I have uncovered over the past 10 years of research.  It's time to share it all right here.  Hopefully, others will learn from what I have done, and learn from my mistakes, too.  Onward!  Til tomorrow's posting.  Get ready world.  This blogger is going to get organized and post her heart out.

Toodles, til tomorrow.